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South Korean prime minister resigns over government's poor response to ferry disaster

By Kyle Johnson,

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won announced his decision to resign on Sunday citing the government's poor response and handling of the ferry disaster.

Chung made a short statement saying, "Keeping my post too great a burden on the administration," reports Reuters. "...On behalf of the government, I apologize for many problems from the prevention of the accident to the early handling of the disaster."

When the news of the ferry sinking were first revealed, the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education contacted parents through text messages saying that "All Danwon High School students are rescued."

Rescue and recovery efforts were conducted at a slow pace and many bodies have yet to be found. The official body count as of Sunday now stands at 187.

Frustration with Chung was evident after he visited parents the day after the accident and people booed him and one person even tossed a water bottle in his direction. President Park Geun-hye, who will need to approve the resignation, also has had boos directed at her.

Though the government has received plenty of blame, the ferry crew deserve even more. When the ship began sinking, it wasn't even the crew who first called in the accident, but rather a student on the boat. He called in three minutes ahead of the crew, telling an emergency dispatcher, "Help us. The boat is sinking."

The ferry company's owner, Yoo Byung-eun, is now dealing with trouble of his own. Authorities recently raided his offices and home as they try and determine his financial background ahead of compensation he will surely owe the families of those on the ship.

 
 

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